These stars made big splashes in the world of sports, acting, and music, but bad decisions changed the course of their careers and landed them behind bars.
In September 2015, Joe and Teresa Giudice were sentenced to prison for various counts of mail, wire, and bankruptcy fraud, reported People. While Teresa has since completed her stint behind bars, Joe is currently serving his sentence of 41 months. According to People, the judge handed down such a harsh punishment because the couple failed to disclose all of its financial details to the court. They were accused of hiding their assets in the initial bankruptcy filing and, in addition, Joe stood accused of not filing tax returns between 2004 and 2008. He began his prison term at New Jersey’s Fort Dix Federal Correctional Institution in March 2016.
His brother-in-law, Joe Gorga, updated Extra: “Joe’s doing good, you know, he’s doing his thing, he’s working out a lot, looking great.” His wife also updated fans, saying her hubby is slimming down behind bars. “He’s lost over 35 lbs,” she told E! News. “He’s doing the same thing I did: reading a lot of books, exercising, keeping his head focused on doing what he has to do.”
The Real Housewives of Atlanta star Phaedra Parks’ estranged husband, Apollo Nida, is serving an 8-year sentence on mail, wire, and bank fraud charges, according to People. Nida originally faced upwards of 30 years, but his sentence was reportedly lessened due to his cooperation with investigators.
“On behalf of my client Apollo, right now he feels remorse,” an attorney for Nida told People. “He thought the judge was fair, and accepts his sentence, although he was hoping it would be less…He’s OK, and will get through this.”
Nida’s time in prison hasn’t been all terrible. He’s divorcing Parks but found a new woman to shower with love. Per Us Weekly, he’s engaged to marry Sherien Almufti, who made an appearance on the fall 2016 season of Housewives. The tab said they were friends before things turned romantic, and she reportedly visits Nida in prison on weekends.
Former Subway spokesperson Jared Fogle was sentenced to 15 years and eight months in prison for child pornography charges, as well as charges he crossed state lines to pay for sex with minors, reported CNN. Fogle was also ordered to pay $1.4 million in restitution to 14 victims and $175,000 in fines.
Prison life hasn’t been easy for the sandwich slinger. In March 2017, he was beaten by a fellow inmate, reported TMZ. The assailant, Steve Nigg, wrote a letter obtained by the tab explaining that he beat up Fogle because the spokesman is allegedly treated like a “hero” amongst other molesters and uses bodyguards to protect himself. “Other child molesters looked at him as if he was a God,” Nigg wrote. Despite being punished for the attack, Nigg wrote, “I have no regrets.”
Rapper Bobby Shmurda found himself in hot water after he was arrested in 2014 on weapons, drugs, and assault charges, reported Billboard. Two years later, the Brooklyn star was sentenced to seven years in prison. He reportedly took a plea deal that significantly reduced his sentence, but Shmurda still wasn’t pleased with the outcome. “I was forced to take this sentence, I did not want to take this sentence,” he told the court (via Billboard.) “I was forced by my attorney to take this plea.” The deal also reportedly lessened the sentences of his friends, Chad ‘Rowdy Rebel’ Marshall and Nicholas McCoy.
Shmurda believes he could have won in court if only he’d been able to make the $2 million bail imposed by the court. “We look guilty in these jump suits,” he told Complex. “If you put Al Sharpton in a orange jumpsuit and accuse him of having a gun, he’s going to be found guilty. We had big-money lawyers and they still couldn’t do nothing because of the judge, who looked at us like black thugs.”
Shmurda is eligible for release in 2021.
5.Abby Lee Miller
Dance Moms star Abby Lee Miller made it big on reality TV, but when her bankruptcy filing didn’t add up, she was forced to exit stage right. According to The Associated Press (via Us Weekly), Miller pleaded guilty and was sentenced in May 2017 to 366 days in prison for bankruptcy fraud and for smuggling in $120,000 in Australian cash without disclosing it. Her case reportedly reaches back to 2015 when she was indicted on 20 counts of bankruptcy fraud, concealment of bankruptcy assets and false bankruptcy declarations.
Upon release, Miller will be given two years supervision and must pay $40,000 in fines as well as a hefty $120,000 judgment, reported Us Weekly. Miller’s judge had this to say about her behavior: “It’s a very serious situation when someone who files for bankruptcy isn’t truthful with the court.”
According to Deadline, Miller began her stint at a Southern California prison facility in July 2017, and if she behaves herself, she’ll likely be released after eight months.
In October 2008, former NFL star O.J. Simpson was convicted on 12 charges, including kidnapping and armed robbery, and sentenced to 33 years in prison, reported The Associated Press (via NBC.) The news came more than a year after he and several other men allegedly stole memorabilia and other collectors’ items that had once belonged to Simpson from a Las Vegas hotel room. “I didn’t want to steal anything from anyone,” Simpson told the court. “I’m sorry, sorry.”
Despite the lengthy sentence, the judge reportedly assured Simpson and the court that the punishment was not influenced by Simpson’s 1995 acquittal in the death of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and family friend Ronald Goldman.
“The Juice” is doing his time at a Nevada facility, according to the Los Angeles Times. Behind bars, O.J.’s life is like any other inmate, reported the paper. He hits the gym, works a cleaning job where he mops floors, and participates in social events, including coaching sports.
In July 2017, after serving nine years in prison, Simpson was granted parole. He could be released as early as October 2017. According to ABC News, Simpson assured the parole board that he would adhere to all the conditions of his release, saying, “I’m not a guy who lived a criminal life.”
Former music mogul Suge Knight was charged with murder and attempted murder in February 2015, following a fatal hit-and-run on the set of the hit film Straight Outta Compton, reported the Los Angeles Times. Knight is accused of running over Cle “Bone” Sloan with his truck; because of his criminal history and the seriousness of his charges, Knight’s $2.2 million bail was revoked, reported the paper.
The much-anticipated trial, which could leave Knight in jail for the remainder of his life, is scheduled to begin in January 2018, reported The Associated Press (via USA Today,) noting that Knight’s various health issues and changes in legal counsel have delayed the trial. Knight has reportedly complained about his difficulty securing legal counsel, telling the court, “I want to get back to my family.” It’s unclear how long the trial will take, but 200 potential jurors have been ordered to appear for jury selection, according to the AP.
This isn’t Knight’s first tussle with trouble. He was shot six times at a nightclub in 2014 and arrested for driving on a suspended license in 2013. He also landed in a hospital in 2009 after a fight at an Arizona hotel.
Musician C-Murder was sentenced to life in prison for killing a teenager during a scuffle in 2002. According to The Associated Press (via Page Six), C-Murder got into a fight with a 16-year-old fan named Steve Thomas outside a club in Harvey, La. According to MTV News, a jury ruled that “Miller shot Thomas once in the chest as the teen lay on his back while being beaten by the rapper’s friends.”
Following a civil case in 2013, C-Murder was also ordered to pay the victim’s family more than $1.1 million ($500,000 each to Thomas’ parents and another $150,000 for their suffering,) reported, Page Six.
Former Baywatch star Jeremy Jackson was arrested in April 2015 for allegedly stabbing a man with a knife in Los Angeles, reported the Los Angeles Times. Though Jackson reportedly fled the scene, the victim recognized him from his role as Hobie Buchannon, the son of lifeguard Mitch Buchannon (David Hasselhoff) on the hit ’90s TV series. In April 2017, Jackson accepted a plea deal that would force him to spend about 161 days in prison and attend anger management classes, reported TMZ.
The actor previously came clean about his past struggles with drug addiction. He was busted for running a meth lab in his home in 2005. Jackson infamously completed a stint on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew for his addiction to growth hormones, and he also had a messy run on Celebrity Big Brother UK and was kicked out for exposing his castmate’s breast.
Power Rangers Samurai star Ricardo Medina pleaded guilty in 2017 to fatally stabbing his roommate, Josh Sutter, with a samurai sword in 2015, reported Variety. The guys reportedly got into a fight over Medina’s girlfriend. In a disturbing 911 call , Medina is heard saying, “Damn it, Josh. Why did you do this, man? Why did you make me do this?”
According to The Associated Press, Medina took a plea deal that resulted in a 6-year sentence instead of a potential life behind bars. The victim’s father reportedly testified, “Put this killer in general [prison] population so he will see and feel the same fear that Joshua must have.”
Former pro-football star Sam Hurd could have been one of the league’s most prized and respected players, but instead, he’s serving 15 years behind bars for his role in a drug-distribution hustle, reported USA Today. According to the paper, Hurd was rounded up during a sting at Chicago steakhouse. He reportedly chatted up an undercover cop and attempted to buy 5 to 10 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana to distribute on the streets.
“I regret not thinking about the consequences,” Hurd told the court. “I made some dumb, very bad decisions.”
In 2015, Hurd filed a motion to have his sentence reduced from 15 years to nine, reported ABC 7. He stated he was rehabilitated, had completed both typing and business classes while behind bars, and even learned how to attend to basic sports injuries. His request was denied.
Music producer Phil Spector will possibly spend the rest of his life behind bars for the death of actress Lana Clarkson, according to CNN. In 2003, Clarkson was discovered dead, sitting in a chair, in Spector’s home. She’d been shot in the mouth. Spector’s first trial ended in a mistrial with a hung jury, but the second time around, jurors reportedly deliberated for just 30 hours. Spector was sentenced to 19 years to life behind bars on second-degree murder charges and ordered to pay the victim’s funeral costs. His attorney reportedly forked over a $17,000 check.
“All of our plans are destroyed,” Clarkson’s mother told the court (via CNN). “Now, I can only visit her at a cemetery.”
Best known for his work in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Shelley Malil was sentenced to life in prison for the attempted murder of his girlfriend in 2008, according to ABC News. He was reportedly convicted on premeditated murder and assault charges. Malil apparently went berserk after discovering his then girlfriend, Kendra Beebe, having wine with another man, reported ABC News. He stabbed the woman some 20 times in the back, chest, and neck.
“I want to do whatever I need to do to make sure I make right from the wrong that I did,” Malil told the court (via ABC News.) “Kendra Beebe did not deserve anything that happened to her…I can’t even begin to imagine what she has been through.”
Beebe didn’t buy into the remorse. “During the course of the trial it became clear he was an actor,” she told the court (via ABC News), “but not a very good actor at that.His testimony was lie after lie.”
South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius became one of the world’s most renowned athletes when he sprinted in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London as a double amputee, but he made headlines of another sort the following year. In the early hours of Feb. 14, 2013, he reportedly fired four shots into a closed bathroom door, killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. According to CNN, Pistorius said he thought an intruder was in his home; the prosecution claimed he killed Steenkamp after an argument.
Pistorius was convicted of manslaughter in 2014 and sentenced to five years in prison. He served one year and then was put on house arrest, but his conviction was overturned and upgraded to murder by a higher court in 2015, reported CNN. Pistorius was sentenced to six years following the new verdict.
Although much of the drama has been put to rest, Steenkamp’s father still struggles with her death. “I don’t wish that on any human being, finding out what happened. It devastated us,” he told the court in 2015 (via CNN). “I ended up having a stroke and so many things since then have happened to me.” He said most of the family has forgiven Pistorius, adding, “You have to understand that forgiveness doesn’t exonerate you from what you did.”
As a promising member of the National Football League in the late ’90s, Rae Carruth’s career was exploding. But then he did the unthinkable in 2001. According to The Charlotte Observer, “Carruth wanted to kill his on-and-off girlfriend because she was eight months pregnant with his child and he didn’t want to pay child support. He hired a hit man to pull the trigger.” Cherica Adams was reported gunned down in a drive-by shooting, but her unborn baby survived.
Carruth was sentenced to 18 years and 11 months in prison, reported the Observer. His son, Chancellor, who suffers from cerebral palsy. is cared for by Adams’ mother, Saundra. She plans to be there when Carruth is released, possibly in October 2018. “I want him to know that we want to be there,” she told the paper. “I would like Chancellor and I to be there so he could officially meet his son. Even if it’s for a few minutes.”
Politics is a dirty game. Just ask former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who was convicted of abusing his power in 2011 and sentenced to 14 years behind bars. The governor was accused of trying to sell Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat after Obama won the 2008 presidential election, reported the Chicago Tribune.
In 2016, after serving just six years of his sentence, Blagojevich tried and failed to get the remaining years knocked off. His family was furious with the judge’s ruling. “Quite frankly, I’m dumbfounded and flabbergasted,” said Blagojevich’s wife, Patti. “This was unusually cruel and heartless and unfair.”
In 2014, former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was convicted on 20 counts of bribery, fraud and money laundering while he was holding public office and sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. According to The Times-Picayune, he relied on city contractors and other local businesses to fund his lifestyle and to contribute business to his son’s company in exchange for valuable city contracts. He was sentenced to 10 years.
Before heading to prison, Nagin spoke about his life to the New Orleans local news. “It’s really been tough. I can’t really do much. I can’t really travel. My freedom has pretty much been taken away,” he said. Yep, that’s sort of what happens following a guilty verdict.
Michael Jace, who is best known for his work on The Shield, was sentenced to 40 years to life behind bars for the shooting death of his wife, April Jace. According to CNN, he shot April in front of their two young sons because he was furious that she wanted a divorce and believed she was seeing someone else. After shooting her once in the back and twice in the legs, Michael reportedly called police and then called April’s father to come collect the boys.
This allegedly wasn’t Michael’s first domestic violence incident. A friend of his first wife told the court that she witnessed him abusing Jennifer Bitterman during their marriage, and Bitterman claimed in court documents that their son was afraid of his dad.
According to TMZ, So You Think You Can Dance season 4 winner Joshua Allen was sentenced to one year in prison after pleading not guilty to charges of felony domestic violence and felony assault with a deadly weapon. Previous reports alleged that Allen attacked his girlfriend twice in two months. In one instance, he allegedly chased her inside a cafe; in another, he allegedly strangled her after she “already had a criminal protective order against Allen for a prior domestic violence conviction.”
According to Deadline, Allen was also slapped with five years’ probation, must complete 52 weeks of domestic violence counseling and must stay away from the victim for 10 years.